Up in the Air


It’s that time again. The wild blue yonder beckons, this time for an actual vacation. Unbelievably, we haven’t been on a proper, turn-off-my-phone, see-you-when-we-get-back holiday in four years. All the globetrotting of late has been work- or family-related and hasn’t been a proper break. Not that I’m knocking travel for the sake of travel, but it’s well past time for a different kind of pause.

Fiji first – a week – then New Zealand for two. With little to no planning, I might add. We booked our seats two weeks ago and we have a place to stay in Fiji and that’s it. We’ll get a car in New Zealand and see as much of the country as possible. That’s the extent of the planning. Under normal circumstances, this would make me crazy because I like planning – I need planning – but this time the single priority is to get away. Everything else is secondary. So we’re winging it.

Here’s what I know about Fiji:

  1. It’s warm and there’s diving.
  2. The international airport is inconveniently located all the way on the other side of the main island from the local airport.
  3. Cast Away was filmed there.
  4. We will not be going to that island because that movie freaked me out and I don’t want to tempt fate. I have a lifelong fear of being resource-less. If I’m going to end up on an island somewhere, let’s scrap the bullshit questions like, “What one book would you take?” and the, “What one person would you want to be stuck with blah blah blah?”

    A book and a dude are not going to cut it, much as I enjoy reading and what have you. I’m going to need, at a minimum, a pen and a generator. And a gas station for the fuel for the generator. The dude could work at the gas station, actually, so that kills two birds with one stone. And, after seeing Cast Away, I’m probably going to need a good dental plan. Also, more than one book. Although one book at a time would be fine. Maybe a BookMobile. That would work. And not like a kids one either. I don’t want to be reading Bunny Goes to Market for the next four years.

    I also have no wilderness training and am not a very good cook, so I’m also going to need a wilderness trainer and a cook.

    You see now why I can’t go to that island? Think of the expense, putting that team together. I’ll stay at my nice hotel, thank you very much, and save us all some money.

That’s it. That’s what I know about Fiji.

Here’s what I know about New Zealand:

  1. There is a town called Whatawhata on the north island which we will definitely be visiting. I have no idea what’s there but we’re going. And taking lots of pictures of signage.

    Am I the only one who thinks that Whatawhata is an awesome choice of name? “Where are you from?” “Whatawhata.” “I said, WHERE ARE YOU FROM?” “Whatawhata.” “Are you deaf? I asked you the name of your town.” “Whatawhata.” And so on. Excellent.

  2. The Lord of the Rings movies were filmed there but they tore down all the cool stuff because of – excuse me?? – “copyright issues.” I don’t understand that – do hobbits have imaginary good lawyers?
  3. Zoe Bell, the stuntchick for Xena and Kill Bill, is from there. (If you haven’t already, check out Double Dare – cool documentary on stuntwomen.)
  4. The Bone People, a harrowing but excellent book about a Maori boy, is set there.
  5. It’s green.
  6. There are many, many opportunities to get very, very hurt: bungee jumping, black water rafting, heli-skiing, sky diving, river sledging (whatever that is – I’m not going to check, I’m just going to sign up), abseiling and driving on the wrong side of the road, to name a few.

    Since I get hurt walking through your average doorframe, I think this is going to go really, really well.

Sounds exciting, doesn’t it? I know. Maybe the lack of planning will make it a huge, messy adventure. Here’s hoping!

I’ll be off the grid for most of the time, so be patient with updates: I’ll do what I can. If you don’t hear from me after three weeks though, you should check that Cast Away island, OK? Please? Promise? Thanks.


Categories: News, Nuisance, Miscellany


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3 Comments on “Up in the Air”

  1. Rick Reicker
    November 9, 2009 at 3:29 pm #

    I’m horribly jealous, have a wonderful time !!

  2. November 23, 2009 at 6:44 am #

    Hi, I’ve been enjoying your writing for a while now but in true Brit fashion haven’t got the comment thing at all. But I thought you should know we have a lovely town called Ware in Oxfordshire which brings a similar response to Whatawhata. Where do you live, Ware, yes where… etc.
    Maybe next trip.

    • December 1, 2009 at 10:36 am #

      All people in charge of naming places should be required to listen to “Who’s on first,” before moving ahead with their choices. (Including native Maori 150 years ago and British explorers before them – that seems fair, doesn’t it?)

      Welcome to commenting – nice to meet you and glad you’re here:)

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